The San Francisco 49ers have released linebacker Aldon Smith after an arrest for DUI, hit and run and vandalism, according to Pro Football Talk. For the 49ers, that was the last straw in a very productive pro career filled with off-the-field issues. Smith has had two DUI arrests in the NFL, and has missed a total of 14 games due to a stint in rehab and a suspension resulting from those arrests. Smith is denying that he was driving under the influence -- though not the hit-and-run charge, apparently.
Naturally, the first reaction of many Tampa Bay Buccaneers was to inquire about the likelihood of the team pursuing Smith. After all, he's one of the best edge rushers in the NFL (44 sacks in just 50 games) -- and the Bucs certainly need one. Add to that the fact that they pursued Greg Hardy this offseason, and they may be amenable to taking a chance on Smith's legal chances.
And honestly, that may actually be a smart position to take, at least from an on-field perspective. The only person who controls Smith's availability at this point is Roger Goodell, and who knows what he's going to do? He may let the legal process play out, or he may get the Adrian Peterson/Greg Hardy treatment and miss most of the season despite a lack of legal conviction. I wouldn't be very trusting of the Smith's denial, given his history -- and the fact that it was only a partial conviction.
But really, no one's going to sign Smith. Not before the legal process has played out. Not given that this would be his third DUI in four years in the NFL. Not even given his tremendous production.